Branch: For the Love of Africa
San Francisco, California, USA 2018
On a mission to deliver world-class financial services to the mobile generation in Kenya, Nigeria, India, and beyond, former Kiva.org co-founder Matt Flannery launched Branch International to empower people in such countries to realize their dreams. The company’s growing presence in Kenya struck a heart chord with Kelly, as she had volunteered in Nairobi with the Africa Yoga Project back in 2014. The project was also wrapped up in a love story, as Kelly’s boyfriend and mobile development genius Andrew Vilcsak joined Branch in 2017.
With an understanding and respect for the power of Africa’s emerging markets, it was important for Branch’s office design to communicate a modern and sophisticated feel, rather than the impression of a non-profit. The intention was to design a contemporary space to hold the builders of a new frontier of finance, while balancing colorful, warm, human elements to make the space feel inclusive.
Kelly immediately saw the opportunity to create a beautiful communal area overlooking downtown San Francisco, complete with a custom bar and kitchen block by CBM Woodworks. She tapped interior design teammate Megan Sosik from TwoFurnish to source a large Hightower sofa, perfect for creating a cozy yet communal zone which would acoustically shelter those focusing at their desks.
The meetings rooms were splashed with color and lively photos from popular street markets in Kariokor (Kenya), Johari (India), and Onitsha (Nigeria). Branch’s main conference room holds their mission statement, alongside a collage of 100 employees across 3 continents.
Kelly was sure to include a comfortable Mother’s Room for breastfeeding moms, and left her hippie trace by adding a succulent garden and plant concept from Flora Grubb Gardens.